George Segal | Street Scenes

Depression Bread Line, 1991

Depression Bread Line is the third bronze casting in an edition of seven commissioned sculptures, the first of which was created for the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial in Washington, D.C. The sculpture refers to the bread lines of the Great Depression when many Americans suffered hunger. Segal reinforces the hardships of that era with the metaphorically closed door. He was inspired by childhood memories, paintings by Ben Shahn and photographs by Dorothea Lange.

The five men in Depression Bread Line wear tattered coats and hats and range in age from middle-aged to elderly. They convey fear and resignation but also determination. The artist is the fourth figure in line.

Collection Madison Museum of Contemporary Art, Madison, Wisconsin; Gift of The George and Helen Segal Foundation with funds for casting provided by Bill and Jan DeAtley, James and Sylvia Vaccaro, a major grant from the Madison Community Foundation, Jim and Cathie Burgess, the Pleasant T. Rowland Foundation, the Overture Foundation, and Tom and Martha Carter

Header Image: George Segal, American, 1924-2000. The Diner, 1964–1966. Plaster, wood, chrome, laminated plastic, Masonite, fluorescent lamp, glass, paper. Collection Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, Minnesota.

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